How do I pick a feed store and/or hay supplier?
Normally this is not a big deal. You may think it’s like picking a supermarket or gas station - convenience and price. BUT - you need to consider a few other things.
-Are your horse’s feeds special order, or regularly in stock? From my horse owner perspective, I tend to forget to call about special orders until it’s too late, and then I just make it awkward for everyone. (A conversation you never want to have is how much it costs to overnight 50lbs of horse feed. You will pass out at the answer.)
-How are bagged grains and feeds stored? Covered up, or in the sun and elements? Out back, or inside? Anything seem questionable?
UM.... THIS SEEMS QUESTIONABLE.
-Where is the hay from? How many brokers does the feed store use for their hay? Do they work with the same farmers or just buy from anyone? Will they buy all cuts or just the best ones?
-Can you work with them on bulk pricing for feeds and hay? What about special orders of round bales?
-How is the hay stored? I have seen piles upon piles of hay in the sun and rain uncovered and just baking or getting soaked. I have also seen hay stored in giant buildings, with proper ventilation and properly off the ground.
Not totally in the shade, but at there are covers for bad weather. And on pallets to keep moisture away from the bottom bales.
-Do they deliver? Many feed stores offer delivery, so check about rates and minimums. Coordinate with your barn mates to make big orders, this is a great way to save some time.
-What are the feed store hours? Can you make it over there after work or on the weekends?
I prefer covered storage for all of the bags and edible things.
-What else do they sell? It’s nice to be able to pick up a few barn necessities at the feed store if necessary. If they have baby chicks in the spring they instantly vault to the top of my list as I LOVE baby chickens. LOVE.
-What services do they offer? Delivery, low cost vaccinations for pets, bulletin boards, meet and greets with product sales reps, hay nutritional testing, what else?
How do you pick your feed store?